Sonoco's Approach to Climate Change

Sonoco recognizes our responsibility to address the challenges of global climate change. We are committed to measuring and reporting our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy and water consumption and waste generation in our operations around the world.

We are meeting our responsibility by developing innovative new processes and by identifying and managing risks and opportunities to our raw materials inputs, operations, employees, suppliers, customers and products.

We are focused on reducing energy usage and air emissions by maximizing energy efficiency through targeted investments and initiatives, as well as reducing water usage and landfill wastes, and we encourage our vendors, partners and contractors to do the same.



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  • Reducing Our Impact on the Environment

    • We reduced our actual greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) by 2.45% in 2020
    • We reduced our actual Energy Usage by 1.19% in 2020
    • We reduced actual Water Usage by 7.38% in 2020

  • Our Climate Strategy

    We will continue to run our global business in conjunction with our climate strategy, which includes:
    • Greenhouse gas emission reduction
    • Use of renewable energy (biomass, solar)
    • Recycling (Global use of recovered fiber)
    • Fiber Certification

  • Key Environmental Metrics

    Learn more about what we value and how we measure success by viewing our key environmental metrics chart.

Our Environmental Policy

Sonoco's Board of Directors, management and employees take seriously our responsibility to protect the environment in which we work and live, and will conduct our business in accordance with all legal requirements and ethical responsibilities, using scientific knowledge, technical innovation and sound environmental management practices.

  • We will be sensitive to environmental issues throughout our business systems, including our selection of materials, processes and products. 
  • We will utilize appropriate monitoring techniques to ensure adherence to accepted standards. 
  • We will conduct operations in full compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. In those areas of the world where such requirements are at a minimum, we will operate in a completely responsible manner. 
  • We will utilize natural resources efficiently, continuously seeking ways to reduce our requirements. We will strive to maximize the utilization of recovered materials in the products we manufacture and use. 
  • We will minimize the generation of discharges to the environment, including air emissions, wastewater and solid waste.
  • We will support the development of scientific knowledge relating to environmental matters and implement appropriate new technologies to improve our environmental performance. 
  • We will proactively assist our customers in addressing environmental issues related to their use of our products. 
  • We will communicate openly with our stakeholders concerning our environmental record.
  • We will cooperate with public and governmental organizations to seek responsible solutions to environmental needs and to develop effective and balanced environmental standards.


  • Sonoco’s Commitment to Food Waste

    We know that food waste is a multifaceted environmental issue, and Sonoco is committed to responsibly supporting the food industry’s need for protective packaging. Our available substrates include recycled, recyclable and renewable materials; for example:
    • Our paper mills produce 100% recycled paperboard with 85% or more post-consumer fiber.
    • We pioneered the use of post-consumer PET (rPET) in cPET thermoformed food trays.
    • Sonoco manufactures PET clamshells from plastic bottles, using up to 100% recycled resin; 1 in 5 PET bottles collected in California are processed at Sonoco facilities.
    • Our paper containers are made from renewable/recycled fiber.
    Sonoco causes to be recycled the equivalent by weight of 57% of the packaging tonnage that we place in the marketplace. Our plastics packaging operation supports several sustainability initiatives, including light-weighting; design optimization; HIPS, EPS, and PVDC replacement; bio-based plastics that are recycling-friendly; and compostable materials.

  • Sonoco’s Commitment on Plastic Packaging

    We are also committed to more sustainable use and increased recyclability of packaging. Specifically:
    • By 2025, Sonoco will increase, by weight, the amount we recycle, or cause to be recycled, from 65% to 85%, relative to the volume of product we put into the global marketplace.
    • We are committed to increasing the use of post-consumer recycled resins in our plastic packaging from 19% to 25% by 2025.
    • Sonoco will ensure that approximately 75% of its global rigid plastic packaging is capable of making the relevant on-package recyclable claim by 2025.
    • Sonoco will not utilize resin additives that purport to degrade in landfills or waterways by simply breaking up into smaller pieces.
    • Sonoco will ensure all of its production facilities utilizing plastic pellets have systems to prevent environmental discharge of these pellets.

The Sonoco Sustainability Star Awards

The Sonoco Sustainability Star Award program recognizes customer and Sonoco-owned facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction and is administered through Sonoco Recycling. Over the course of the program, 34 Sonoco facilities have been recognized for achieving 95% or greater landfill reduction. Most recently, Sonoco has recognized facilities in Ohio and Georgia for their creative and committed efforts to reduce waste to landfill.

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Our LEED-certified iPS Studio

Sonoco’s iPS Studio innovation center in Hartsville, S.C., has been recognized with LEED Silver certification status. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, helps building owners and managers improve a building’s lifecycle performance, resulting in financially and environmentally sound performance and practices. To achieve its LEED for Commercial Interiors v. 2009 certification at the Silver level, the iPS Studio excelled in a number of categories, including: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation & Design. The interior light power is 25.4% more efficient than code standard, the indoor plumbing fixtures are 48% more efficient than the national standard, and 36.65 tons of renovation construction waste were diverted from landfill. 

Talk to us

If you would like to extend a dialogue with Sonoco on issues of sustainability, you may contact us at